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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Antiplatelet and Anticoagulant Pharmacology for the Laboratory Professional. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Overview of Coagulation Inhibition and Fibrinolysis

Inhibitors of coagulation include the body's natural coagulation inhibitors, as well as the fibrinolytic (clot breakdown) system. These important mechanisms cannot be forgotten when discussing hemostasis. When these systems are not functioning normally, pathology results.
Blood must remain fluid in order to traverse blood vessels, especially in low flow areas where the blood is more likely to clot, such as capillary beds and the veins of the legs. In these areas, the natural inhibitors of coagulation prevent unnecessary clotting.
The body must also have the capacity to lyse clots once they have served their purpose. The fibrinolytic system is responsible for that task.